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Remembering roller skating, before The Emporium

Sr Trip to Roller Rink c

All but the newest of comers to Patchogue Village are aware the building that now houses The Emporium used to be a Knights of Columbus.

Fewer realize that long before the likes of Lil Wayne, Mobb Deep or Twisted Sister graced the stage inside the nondescript Railroad Avenue club, organ music filled the air.

Instead of bumping, grinding or head-banging, young people did the fox trot, waltz, moonlight waltz, and then the fox trot again.

This was all performed on roller skates from 8:30 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. At least that’s according to a 1940 musical program provided to GreaterPatchogue.com.

(See the program and other photos below.)

Many people still have fond memories of the roller rink. The building is among the rare ones that used to hold a rink yet still stands on Long Island, with many other roller rink buildings being torn down.

“‘Twas 1954ish, and I walked from River to Railroad Avenue, so proud in my red corduroy skating skirt with the white satin lining and decorative felt ice skating figure on the front,” recalled Patchogue native Marcia Berke Matlin, who now lives in California. “Unfortunately, once on actual skates I lost all my bravado, just grateful to stay upright while skating to the music.”

Ben Vitale of Patchogue said he and a friend used to walk to the roller rink from Lake Ronkonkoma.

“Every weekend,” he said. “We also walked back 4 3/4 miles each way.”

“I remember going a couple times only and being jealous of the skaters who could do more than go around in circles and grab the bar to stop,” said Judi Lloyd, a Sachem High School graduate.

The Emporium opened in September 2012 after a $5 million renovation, according to Patch.com. It wasn’t clear when the Patchogue Roller Rink closed.

(Side note: There used to be a roller rink on South Ocean Avenue in the 19th Century.)

Please share any memories you have of the roller rink in comments. Or correct our history if needed.

mike@greaterpatchogue.com

Top photo: Sachem Class of 1960 senior trip photo of Pauline Millevolte, Andy Gonzalez and Steve Auditore comes courtesy of Camille Pelliccia/Sachem High School Alumni Gazette.

Musical program courtesy of John Jett.

Musical program courtesy of John Jett.

Patchogue Roller Program

emporium

The Emporium as it looked Friday. (Credit: MIchael White)

About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of greaterpatchogue.com. Email him your story ideas or tips: mike@greaterpatchogue.com